With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it’s important to manage the symptoms to reduce pain. Often, it is recommended that you wear a hand brace to help keep your wrist in a neutral position, which will help relieve the pain and tingling sensation that arises from the irritation of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel.
There is a small space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel through which the median nerve and ligaments and tendons pass. The median nerve can become irritated which gives rise to symptoms including numbness in the hand or fingers, tingling or “pins and needles” sensations and over time, possibly even a loss of strength in the hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can reduce your ability to grip with the affected hand. The pain and discomfort can be severe enough to disturb your sleep or wake you up at night.
It’s sometimes difficult to ascertain the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as it can vary between individuals. Being born with a small carpal tunnel can be a contributing factor, as can an injury to the wrist area resulting in swelling and inflammation. Sometimes even fluid retention during pregnancy can trigger symptoms with almost half of all pregnant women reporting symptoms which usually disappear after giving birth. Repetitive wrist motion or continuously holding the wrist in an uncomfortable position can irritate the median nerve too.
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can come and go. Confusingly, in some people, their symptoms can disappear entirely before returning even more severely weeks or months later. If you’re experiencing symptoms in both hands, you’re more likely to find that your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is persistent.
Wearing wrist supports, splints or braces may help relieve some of the symptoms. If you are seeing a health care professional, they may provide you with custom splints which are created by physical therapists. These will be tailored to fit the dimensions of your hand and wrist and should be comfortable as well as supportive. However, it is also possible to buy wrist splints over the counter at chemists or online. These braces often come in different sizes, so it’s advisable to go to a physical shop or chemist to find out your size by trying braces on before you buy one. If you’re wearing a hand and wrist brace all the time, you may want to choose a soft brace, as this will allow you more movement without causing discomfort. However, try to wear a rigid brace overnight to keep your wrist in a neutral position. This will soothe the median nerve and should help to alleviate some of the symptoms. It may take some trial and error before finding the right hand brace for you. The one you choose should be comfortable, but firm enough to hold your wrist in a neutral position. You should also notice a reduction in symptoms once you’ve started wearing the brace.